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Marching Orders

Ronan Bennett: The new future of Northern Ireland, 30 July 1998

... 25 June. By now, there was war within the party. One of the bitterest rows was between Trimble and Jeffrey Donaldson, the UUP member for Lagan Valley. Donaldson had been seen as a ‘moderate’ and a protégé of Trimble’s: now he ditched his leader to side openly and noisily with Paisley, Bob McCartney and the various anti-Agreement groupings. Trimble ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... In his realist classic of 1984, First among Equals, Jeffrey Archer has a Labour minister from a Northern constituency disappearing with a prostitute for five minutes or so. She recognises Raymond Gould and turns to blackmail once the business is done. Gould refuses to deal and she takes her tale to Mike Molloy, a Mirror reporter ...

Contemplating adultery

Lotte Hamburger and Joseph Hamburger, 22 January 1987

... of men and women of the intellectual calibre of Bentham, the young John Stuart Mill, Francis Jeffrey, until recently editor of the Edinburgh Review, the Grotes, the Romillys, the Carlyles. A more weighty anchor to conventionality was her ten-year-old daughter Lucy. All this was now put in jeopardy by these dangerous letters. Inadvertent or intentional ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... to join was from me. It seemed to belong to a different era, but in fact it occurred only eight weeks before I became Chancellor. Our hero evidently doesn’t realise how ridiculous this sounds. Perhaps the memory was so painful it had to be denied – that at least is the charitable interpretation. (Anything less charitable would run into legal ...

Putin in Syria

Jonathan Steele, 21 April 2016

... of the withdrawal just a few hours before the announcement). Yet on 12 October last year, two weeks after Putin’s aircraft started bombing Syrian targets, Russia’s Channel One broadcast an interview with him in which he clearly stated that Russia’s military intervention would be short-lived. ‘Our task is to stabilise the legitimate ...

Feel what it’s like

James Davidson: Pagans, Jews and Christians, 2 March 2000

A World Full of Gods: Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire 
by Keith Hopkins.
Weidenfeld, 402 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81982 8
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... to 25 December, at the end of a year corresponding to 1 BC, that all those fireworks, a few weeks ago, were marking his 2000th birthday in a meaningful way, that his mother was a virgin, that he rode into Jerusalem on an ass? Well, I am afraid all of that is almost certainly not true. These are late inventions, designed to fit what Old Testament ...

Living the Life

Andrew O’Hagan, 6 October 2016

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency 
by James Andrew Miller.
Custom House, 703 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 06 244137 9
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... a bass and a saxophone player. Jerry tries to persuade Poliakoff to give them the job – three weeks in Florida with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators – but Poliakoff tells them to beat it, they require female musicians. ‘Look, if William Morris doesn’t come through …’ Jerry says, as Joe drags him out the door. More recently, in ...

Doing something

Ahdaf Soueif, 1 October 1987

Persian Nights 
by Diane Johnson.
Chatto, 352 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 7011 3234 5
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Smile, and Other Stories 
by Deborah Moggach.
Viking, 175 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81658 2
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Fast Lanes 
by Jayne Anne Phillips.
Faber, 148 pp., £8.95, August 1987, 0 571 14924 3
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... design? – finds herself alone (that is, without husband or children) in Iran for a few weeks. She is a pretty, good-natured, scatty, conventional doctor’s wife, ‘more given to idle reflections than to purposive thought’, susceptible to attacks of guilt about her children: ‘sometimes she caught herself thinking of nothing at all and would ...

The Browse Function

John Sutherland, 27 November 1997

Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web 
by Evan Schwartz.
Penguin, 244 pp., £11.99, October 1997, 9780140264067
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... in a garage three years ago. The garage-owning founder (now chief executive officer), Jeff (now Jeffrey) Bezos, was just 30. Apparently, in the early days, he would drive down to the local post office to dispatch orders by hand. Bezos is no tweedy ‘bookman’. He originally had 20 product categories in mind, but settled on books as the most appropriate ...

Why Goldwyn Wore Jodhpurs

David Thomson, 22 June 2000

The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper 
by Dominick Dunne.
Crown, 218 pp., £17.99, October 1999, 0 609 60388 4
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Gary Cooper Off Camera: A Daughter Remembers 
by Maria Cooper Janis.
Abrams, 176 pp., £22, November 1999, 0 8109 4130 9
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... was his real object – Lenny was being browbeaten for bringing in an outsider. A couple of weeks later, the Dunnes were at the Daisy – another hot place in town. Sinatra, his two daughters and Mia Farrow (to whom he was then engaged) were at another table. George, the restaurant captain, came over to the Dunnes’s table. ‘I’m so sorry, Mr ...

Mockney Rebels

Thomas Jones: Lindsay Anderson, 20 July 2000

Mainly about Linsay Anderson 
by Gavin Lambert.
Faber, 302 pp., £18.99, May 2000, 0 571 17775 1
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... strikingly reminiscent of the end of If ... The movie is riddled with intertextual jokes: Peter Jeffrey, who plays the headmaster in If ..., is a prison governor; teetering on a windowsill in a failed attempt to talk a working-class woman (Rachel Roberts) out of committing suicide, Travis reads her a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon, Cheltenham College’s ...

A Pox on the Poor

Steven Shapin: The First Vaccine, 4 February 2021

The Great Inoculator: The Untold Story of Daniel Sutton and His Medical Revolution 
by Gavin Weightman.
Yale, 216 pp., £16.99, August 2020, 978 0 300 24144 0
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... 1763 so gratefully received gifts of smallpox-infected blankets, arranged by the British general Jeffrey Amherst.In the 18th century, it was folk knowledge that milkmaids tended to be afflicted with the far more mild cowpox but rarely suffered smallpox. The Gloucestershire physician Edward Jenner knew this too, and the beginning of the end of smallpox came ...

An Escalation of Reasonableness

Conor Gearty: Northern Ireland, 6 September 2001

To Raise up a New Northern Ireland: Articles and Speeches 1998-2000 
by David Trimble.
Belfast Press, 166 pp., £5.99, July 2001, 0 9539287 1 3
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... maximum public confidence’. As part of this process, the IRA ‘agreed to put in place within weeks a confidence-building measure to confirm that our weapons remain secure’. What this entailed was that the contents of a number of arms dumps would be inspected by agreed third parties who would report to the Commission. These dumps would then be ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens, 14 November 1996

Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... A bit of ladylike publishing on the side: not many people know that Jackie could have aborted Jeffrey Archer’s second career if she had objected to Viking’s 1977 issue of Shall We Tell the President?, which nauseated the reviewers twice. (The first heave was at the prose, the second at the thought of a ‘novel’ about the assassination of Teddy ...

Charmed Lives

Patrick Parrinder, 23 April 1987

Memoirs of a Fortunate Jew: An Italian Story 
by Dan Vittorio Segre.
Peter Halban, 273 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 1 870015 00 2
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To the Land of the Reeds 
by Aharon Appelfeld, translated by Jeffrey Green.
Weidenfeld, 148 pp., £9.95, February 1987, 0 297 78972 4
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by Daphne Merkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 241 12113 2
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by Umberto Saba, translated by Mark Thompson.
Carcanet, 166 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 85635 559 3
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... endless pastoral landscape. Time slows down to the point where even a few miles can take weeks or even months to cover. The journey is punctuated by the wayside inns at which, Don Quixote-like, they put up after each day’s journey. With eloquent simplicity Appelfeld evokes the experiences of these archetypal travellers, whose high hopes gradually ...

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